PORTLAND -- A portion of the Mount Tabor Reservoir had to be drained Wednesday morning when a 21-year-old Molalla man admitted to urinating in the water.
His relief forced the city to take a key water supply off line.
“Here comes our friend right here,” said David Shaff with the Portland Water Bureau as he points to the grainy surveillance video.
The video clearly showed Joshua Seater unzipping his pants and urinating in Reservoir #1 at about 1:30 Wednesday morning. As soon as security spotted Seater, they shut down the supply.
“That’s what happened last night, somebody did something really stupid,” Shaff said frankly.
Seater doesn't deny that.
“I had a pleasant buzz and I should have known better. It was a split second thing and as soon as I was done I was like, ‘Oh man and I saw the police officer show up I knew exactly what they’re here for,’” Seater admitted.
By daylight, the Water Bureau decided to drain eight-million gallons of water to the tune of $32,700 tax payer dollars.
“More likely than not a tiny bit of urine in 8 million gallons of water isn’t going to hurt anybody. But in this one, I guess I’m responding in part to the yuck factor,” Shaff said.
City commissioner Randy Leonard, who oversees the bureau, agrees. He said that reservoir is what thousands in East Portland rely on.
“The water is chlorinated, but its chlorinated before the reservoirs so the water in the reservoirs is the water that you drink,” Leonard pointed out.
Police said Seater could face misdemeanor charges and fines.
“I wouldn't mind paying for it, but I don’t have a job right now. I’m willing to do community service to clean up the place because I feel bad and feel pretty stupid,” Seater said.
“It’s really an unfortunate incident that probably could have been avoided if he had just chosen a bush,” Sgt. Pete Simpson with the Portland Police Bureau added.
Last month the Portland City Council approved an $80-million contract to build a new reservoir at Powell Butte that will eventually help to close the open air storage at Mt. Tabor.